Photos and text by Matthew Townsend
Assisi, the hillside birthplace of St. Francis, comes alive every Oct. 3, which marks the saint’s death in 1226. For many tourists the celebration may involve nothing more than parties that last late into the night. But piety and refreshment await pilgrims.
Celebrations occur between the piazzas of the medieval Umbrian hill town and in the churches of Santa Maria degli Angeli, a frazione (subdivision) at the foot of Assisi about 5 kilometers away.
Another festival, Calendimaggio, occurs in the first week of May. It is said to be Assisi’s largest, grandest, and richest in medieval atmosphere. But for Franciscan pilgrims, October is the time to come.